Welcoming visitors to our homes is part of the holiday season. It means having to clean the house, cook the meals and prepare the guest room. But we don’t mind, because we long to see our guests. Whether it's a friend we haven't seen in a long time, a brother or sister who has come from afar, or our daughter's new boyfriend, we look forward to seeing them, listening to them, and having a great time in their presence. How good it is to welcome others in such moments!
Sometimes, welcoming is more demanding, like when the visitor is a stranger, a person in need or someone who bothers us. I remember participating in a large Scout jamboree that was interrupted by a tornado. Nearly a thousand of us young people became homeless when the wind blew our tents off their poles. Local residents were quick to respond, and I was greeted by a couple who offered me a bed, meals, a phone to call my parents, and some money for unexpected expenses. They could have refused: who was I to this couple, me, a young stranger? But they welcomed me as I was, in my hour of need. How generous it is to welcome others in such moments!
There are unexpected moments of welcome that transform us. Once, a speaker was on his way to our diocese to lead a training session for our staff. Since I had to pick him up late at night at the airport, I offered to let him stay at my place, which he accepted. I didn't expect that the conversation I would have with him would have such a big impact on me. My welcome turned into a moment of encounter that animated me and rekindled my enthusiasm. How life-giving it is to welcome others in such moments!
And how do we welcome Jesus who comes to us at Christmas? Do we take the trouble to prepare ourselves for the festival day simply to have a pleasant time? Do we allow ourselves to be disturbed by others, in a spirit of generosity? Do we allow ourselves to be transformed by an unexpected word that opens up new possibilities for us?
Christmas will take on the colour of our welcome. I hope that it will be warm and joyful for all of you. But above all, I hope it will be a source of new life. After all, that’s why He came!
+ Paul-André Durocher
In January 2023, Pope Francis published his latest annual message for the 57th World Day of Social Communications, which will take place on Sunday, May 21, 2023. The theme of this year’s edition is Speaking from the heart. “Speaking the truth in love.” Quoting Saint Paul the Apostle’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Holy Father mentions that “We should not be afraid of proclaiming the truth, even if it is at times uncomfortable, but of doing so without charity, without heart.”
In the context of the National Week for Family and Life, the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued both an Open Letter to the Government of Canada and a Message to the Catholic Faithful on federal legislation which, by 17 March 2024, will permit persons living with mental illness to access euthanasia.
Rising prices are hitting hard at families and individuals who are already in difficult socio-economic situations. In its annual message for May 1st, the Church and Society Council of the Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops invites solidarity in the face of this phenomenon...
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) have issued the North American Final Document for the Continental Stage of the 2021-2024 Synod: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.
Begun in late 2022, the Continental Stage of the Synod was the second stage of the three-year process initiated by Pope Francis in October 2021. For the North American Continental Stage, the United States and Canada held twelve virtual assemblies: seven in English, three in Spanish, and two in French between December 2022 and January 2023. In total, 931 delegates and 146 bishops from Canada and the United States were appointed to participate in one of these twelve assemblies to share their reflections and responses to the Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) issued by the Holy See’s General Secretariat of the Synod in October 2022. Those reflections were brought together by the North American Writing Team to create the Final Document.
How I wish I could experience Easter without having to endure Good Friday!
How pleasant it would be to lose weight without dieting or exercising, to master an art without practising for hours, or to succeed in a project without devoting so much energy and resources to it! It would be wonderful to be loved without having to give of myself to another, to be forgiven without having to ask for forgiveness, to be reconciled without having to overcome my pride.
Father Normand Carpentier passed on March 26, 2023 in Gatineau. Born in Buckingham on December 6, 1940, he was the son of the late René Carpentier and the late Alice Mallette and brother of Paul, Louis, Pierre, Richard, Luc, Yolaine, Jean d'Arc, Madeleine, Louise and the late Claudette.
Bill 11, the Act modifying the Act Respecting End-of-Life Care, along with other legislative provisions presented February 16, 2023, by Quebec Health and Seniors Minister Sonia Bélanger, obliges us as Quebec citizens and Catholic bishops practising our ministries throughout this province to speak out today on this question which is of the utmost importance.
Trois-Rivières – March 10, 2023 | The Bishops of Quebec concluded their Plenary Assembly today, which had begun on March 6. The meeting was greatly inspired by the synodal process and provided an opportunity for many fruitful and stimulating exchanges...
Trois-Rivières, March 8, 2023 – On this, the second day of their two-day gathering to collect and assimilate the diocesan synodal syntheses from across the province, along with the Provincial Synthesis - Quebec and the document taking shape in the continental stage of consultations held during the Synod on Synodality launched in October 2021, a group of almost 150 people from all dioceses of Quebec are marking International Women's Day...
Share Lent is an annual highlight for Development and Peace.
It is when the bishops of Canada encourage the faithful to give to Development and Peace, especially through the collection on Solidarity Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Lent.
This Lent, let us walk in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Global South who put people and planet first.
Join us and bring Share Lent to life in your community!
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